While lying on the couch Thanksgiving Day watching the odd array of "entertainment" and shameless plugging that occupies the streets of New York City under the aegis of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, I realized a cache NYC photos were lying dormant on my camera. Not anymore. So here's a few heads up on fun things to do in The Big Apple:
Fanelli Cafe, (since 1847!) is always a must for us, as it's a no B.S., no tourists, real old time Soho-style watering hole with potent quaffs, good burgers and classic "tough cookie" bartenders.
A Bloody Bull at JG Melon is another NYC staple. Known for its burgers and fuss-free ambiance, Melon's exists in a similar vein as Fanelli, only it's in the uptown big time museum area and is slightly more restaurant-y.
We liked our afternoon visit to the great cocktail-making, strong local-sourcing Cookshop so much we went back for dinner. This tasty Chelsea up-and-comer (think Alana's meets Knead in NYC Artland) is a lot of fun. Round one (afternoon cocktails) included the Spiced Bourbon Cider (made with Wiklow farms cider, W.L. Weller Bourbon and fresh lemon); and a wake-you-up-spicy Bloody Maria.
Round two (before dinner cocktails): two Maple Peach Sours, made with Sazerac Rye, a tiny touch of maple syrup, lemon juice and peach bitters.
Cookshop's killer pimento cheese bruschetta
Co. Pizza, with its beautiful, authentic Italian-style thin, singed crust is one of my favorite tomato pie stops (great little wines-by-the-glass list, too).
Cascabel Taqueria was a terrific new discovery (local suckling pig tacos on blue corn tortillas with pickled jicama!). Their motto, which I embrace with both arms and a huge mouth, is "Eat Drink Love Tacos"
Cascabel manages to be simultaneously hip and genuine--check out this wall of Mexican wrestler portraits.
Gerhard Richter at the Drawing Center was a neat show throwing light on an underexamined aspect of the great artist's oeuvre. BTW, The Drawing Center in Soho always has wonderful shows and it's virtually free (though it's nice to drop a buck or two into the donation bin)
Look at these intricate, funny and disturbing video sculptures by Tony Oursler (whose compelling work I first saw at the Wexner Center)--at Lehman Maupin, a nifty Lower East Side gallery.
Norman Lewis' "City Night" and Mark Rothko's "No. 16 (Red, Brown, and Black)" were, respectively, examples of little-known gems and justifiably famous great works on view in the blockbuster Abstract Expressionist New York at MOMA
From MOMA's "Counter Space: Design and the Modern Kitchen" a different kind of giggle and thought-provoking exhibit
In addition to the brilliant Time Stands Still, we also saw Will Eno's Middletown (imagine Thorton Wilder's "Our Town" re-written by someone who grew up loving Samuel Beckett) and "The Fortune Teller," a demented puppet show performed by the excellent and twisted puppetmasters at Here Arts Center.
I returned to Pegu Club (mostly due to its stumbling-distance proximity to my hotel) for the first time in years. The cocktails were still good, the lighting nice and dark, but it had sure seen better days in terms of service and clientele. The bar was three-deep with late-to-the-game, loudly boasting "cocktail tourists" and the bartenders were overwhelmed and just too busy to give good service or even return with the check in a timely fashion. Pictured: the Little Italy (rye, Cynar, sweet vermouth) and the Pegu Club (gin, Angostura bitters, orange bitters, Orange Curacao and lime juice)